Strong 7.0 quake rattles buildings in Colombia

February 10, 2013 - 1:23:36 am

BOGOTA: A powerful 7.0-magnitude earthquake rumbled across southern Colombia yesterday, injuring at least eight people and damaging more than 140 buildings, authorities said.

The quake was felt as far away as Quito, Ecuador and Bogota, where buildings swayed under the force of the tremor, which the US Geological Survey said measured a strong 7.0 on the moment magnitude scale.

Authorities said the quake struck at a depth of 129km at 1416 GMT, 11km southwest of Pasto, Colombia, a city of 400,000 people that lies at the foot of the Galeras volcano.

Eight people were injured and a total of 143 buildings were damaged, with the destruction concentrated in 17 municipalities in southwestern Colombia, the national disaster risk management unit said via Twitter.

However, “there are no deaths, no missing and no reports of serious damage,” its director, Carlos Ivan Marquez, told reporters.

One of the wounded was a child who fell from the second floor of a building and broke a leg, he said.

In Cali, Ecuador’s third largest city, a clinic was evacuated. In the town of San Pedro a church collapsed, apparently without causing any casualties, according to officials.

Bogota’s mayor, Gustavo Petro, tweeted that there were “no reports of injuries or damage.” But he said some tall buildings were evacuated.

In Ecuador, firefighters took to Twitter to urge residents of the capital Quito to remain calm and take necessary precautions.

Local media said a transformer exploded, knocking out power to the center of the Ecuadoran city of Esmeralda, near the border with Colombia.

The quake was situated 199km  northeast of Quito and 168km  southwest of the Colombian city of Popayan, the USGS said. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said the event did not generate a destructive tsunami.

AFP



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